Parks, greenbelts to be smoke-free as of April 1
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-03-31 11:56 AM
The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) has announced that beginning April 1 all national parks and administrative areas as well as parks and green spaces set aside by county and city governments for public recreation, are non-smoking areas where smoking cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products is forbidden. Violators of the ban may be subject to a fine of not less than NT$2,000 and not more than NT$10,000.

MOHW notes that the smoking ban covers national parks and national recreational areas, national scenic areas and forest recreation and tourism areas as well as local parks and greenbelts. In some of these areas certain sections inside or adjacent to their environs may be designated special smoking zones. The number and size of such zones will vary from site to site.

For example, the total area of Yangmingshan National Park is more than 11,000 hectares, and the areas reserved for smoking will include some 10 locations with a total area of about 122 hectares. In the case of county and city-run parks and green spaces, legally-designed smoking areas will be set aside, but in smaller areas, identifying such smoking areas may be unfeasible and smokers will have to find a place to ‘light up’ outside the boundaries of the park or green area.

The smoking ban has been protested by several smokers’ rights groups including the Taiwan Smoker Rights Promotion Association, which claims that MOHW is overstepping its legal authority in imposing the restrictions. MOHW’s Health Promotion Administration counters such claims by noting that subjecting others to second-hand smoke is a violation of their basic human rights.

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